It was a normal Tuesday afternoon in Singapore when she arrived at the Polo Club. The sun was high in the sky and the trees were desperately praying for an afternoon monsoon to cool them down, while they held the city in their arms. The streets were buzzing with cars, crowds of people and many blue taxis, all forming part of the clockwork of a bustling city. The air smelled of fried fish and everybody was on a mission, trying to accomplish something.
She was introduced to the polo trainers, all of whom came from Pakistan. Then she walked up and greeted all the animals. She was short with medium-length brown hair, well dressed and immaculately groomed − like all the Club members were. Her husband followed slightly behind.
She paused for a moment as she walked past my stable.
“What is her name?” she asked the groom.
“Erika,” he replied.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” she said, admiring my powerful, well-defined, muscular body.
She looked deeply into my soft, brown eyes and I smelled her perfume. For a split second our souls connected, and I knew in that instant that I had been waiting many years for this moment.
I could sense the fatigue in her physical body, from the stress of keeping it all together − settling into a new job in a new country, with a different language and culture, with no support. I allowed her to rest against my chest while I sniffed the fragrance of her shampoo. I was thinking what an extraordinary journey it must have been for a farm girl from Africa, married to a Chinese man and ending up in Singapore.
She and her husband came back to the Club every weekend to ride. She always arrived with so much joy and excitement, and I could sense that this was her sanctuary. Here with me and all the other horses, she could be herself. Here she felt loved, accepted and ultimately free from the stress and responsibility of her daily life. Here she could breathe again, and here a very special bond started to develop, which was clearly not of this world.
As she spent more and more time with me, I got to know her better and the rest of her story unfolded.
It took me many years to have the courage to write this book. Part of my reluctance was fear, that people will look at me differently and treat me differently, if they knew that I was a brain tumor survivor. Part of it was fear that my words wouldn’t be powerful and that nobody would read my book.
But mostly, it was the pain of remembering.
I am not sure where the turning point was that liberated me to have the courage and to tell the story, but here I am.
If my story inspires just one person, it was worth the risk.
If you are currently dealing with a life-challenging disease or are caught up in a career that does not inspire you, keep on reading. Even if neither of these categories apply to you, but found this book in your hands, keep on reading, because when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
I am excited to share that my first book – Power in the Paddock, will be published within the next couple of weeks! It is a very big step for me and I will be sharing some extracts from the book.
Cyntha Gonzalez has shared the following endorsement.
It takes the wake-up call of a malignant brain tumor for Yolanda Sing to ask herself if she can continue living a stressful corporate lifestyle that brings her no meaning or joy. Power in the Paddock is an inspiring account by her favorite polo pony, Erika, and Yolanda of the extraordinary healing journey that sees her heal from cancer but further take the leap and follow her greatest dream of living and working full time with beloved equine creatures back in her home country of South Africa. Her emphasis on spiritual surrender is reinforcing to any reader in facing his or her own significant life challenges.
Watch this space, as I will be sharing the voice of Erika.